PPP putting pressure on PML-N ahead of budget

ISLAMABAD   -   Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) is applying pressure on the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) ahead of the federal budget in signs of differences emerging between the politically unnatural allies.

Yesterday, PPP leader Syed Khurshid Ahmed Shah expressed concerns for alleged non-consultations on the federal budget for 2024-25.

Shah criticized the PML-N-led government for not informing or engaging the PPP in discussions about the budget, including key issues such as privatization policy, taxation, and development programs.

He questioned whether the budget was being influenced by the government or the International Monetary Fund (IMF), expressing uncertainty about any relief measures which the PPP was supporting.

The PPP and the PML-N had struck a power-sharing deal after the February general elections which resulted in a hung parliament. The PPP gained several constitutional offices including the President, Chairman Senate, Governors of Khyber Pakhtunkhaw and Punjab and Chief Minister of Balochistan along with the Deputy Speaker’s slot. The PPP, however, did not join the federal cabinet under Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

Khurshid Shah emphasized that the PPP’s proposals should have been integrated into the federal budget, highlighting the party’s need to answer constituents’ questions about their contributions.

Shah noted that the PPP, led by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, would need to make a political decision regarding the budget, set to be announced on June 12.

Earlier, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif held a meeting with a PPP delegation, which included notable figures such as former Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, Syed Naveed Qamar, Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, and Sherry Rehman.

The discussions covered national and political matters, including consultations on the fiscal year 2024-2025 budget. Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah also participated in a session of the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

The PPP Punjab chapter has also rejected the upcoming federal and provincial budgets, labelling them as “anti-people, anti-industry, and anti-Pakistan.”

PPP leader Azizur Rehman Chan predicted an increase in inflation and criticized the government’s portrayal of improved power generation amidst ongoing severe load-shedding. They also expressed concerns over the potential negative impact on business activities due to increased tax targets.

The PML-N is in contact with the PPP to sort out the matter before the budget is presented. Political pundits believe the PPP might “earn” something for supporting the PML-N on budget.

PM Shehbaz Sharif is also pushing the PPP to join the federal cabinet to share responsibility as the government aims to improve the country’s economy.

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